Accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. Many workplace accidents and injuries are preventable, though, if workers know the causes of accidents and are taught how to protect themselves. Although no one wants to get hurt at work, there are four major causes for injuries on the job.
The number one cause of on-the-job injuries is physical overload. These injuries are caused by lifting (too heavy a load or lifting improperly), straining, overreaching, bending, and twisting. To protect your back against injury, learn and use proper lifting techniques, never bend or twist while lifting or carrying, and whenever possible, use a mechanical aid or get help with the load from another worker.
Hitting or striking against
The second most common cause of worker injury is being hit by or hitting against an object. The best way to protect against these accidents is to be alert to the potential hazards and to use appropriate protective equipment (hard hats, eye protection, gloves). Be aware of your body and the space around you. Give yourself enough clearance when passing by or ducking under equipment or going through a passageway.
To avoid injuries from falls, be sure that your footing is firm and wear slip-resistant soled shoes. Watch where you’re walking. Don’t walk backward to direct equipment or leap from one level to another. Make sure you can see over the load you carry and that walkways are well-lighted and clear of obstacles. Clean up spills or grease spots and use handrails when walking on stairs.
Number four on this list is machine-related accidents. When working around any moving equipment (a machine that rotates, slides, or presses) always use safety shields, guards, and lock-out procedures. Training is essential when operating heavy machinery. No one should use equipment like this without proper training. And, workers must avoid wearing jewelry or loose clothing, as these can get caught up in the moving equipment.
Be alert to the hazards you face on your job and learn what you should do to protect yourself against accidents and injuries and follow your company’s established safety guidelines.